Hit Refresh with Activities & Games for National Coding Week!

Strengthen your child’s digital literacy skills during National Coding Week, September 13th-19th.

National Coding Week is a great opportunity for learners of all ages to explore coding, programming, and to develop their computational thinking skills — a problem solving process that uses algorithms and logic to create solutions.

For young people growing up in a digital age, computer science is a big part of their lives — even if they don’t become professional computer programmers or software engineers. It can help give them the fundamental skills to thrive on screen and off. Coding, the process of using a programming language to give a computer instructions to perform a specific task, teaches kids problem-solving, analytical thinking, and teamwork. It also provides valuable opportunities to explore their imagination and flex their creativity.

Check out the byte-sized activities, games, and videos below to start incorporating coding, programming and computational thinking practices into your family’s everyday life!


Learn More About Coding

Using Coding Apps to Teach Kids How to Think

Grades K-3
Research shows that engaging in coding and programming activities helps kids develop important skills. Find out how these skills can help you go beyond teaching children what to think to teaching them how to think!

What Kids Can Learn Through Coding

Grades K-3
ScratchJr is a free programming language developed by Marina Umachi Bers in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab. ScratchJr allows kids to create their own interactive stories and games featuring their favorite PBS KIDS characters. Learn more about ScratchJr and how it had five-year-old Liana coding before she even learned to read!

Practicing Computer Science Skills Anytime

Grades K-8
Computational thinking practices set up learners for more than working on a computer. Building your child’s computational thinking skills will increase her confidence and better prepare her for the road ahead. Read about skills like decomposition, debugging, persistence, and pattern recognition, and scroll through a list of books for STEM-based learning.

How to Make a Video Game

Grades 3-12
Video games are fun to play, but have you ever wondered how to make one? Carmelo, a grad student in the MIT Media Lab, shows how anyone can start learning how to create video games by talking to machines through programming languages.

Cyber Codes

Grades 6-12
Your messages are coded by email programs and websites to prevent others from reading them. Learn how encryption keeps online information private in this video from the NOVA Cybersecurity Lab.

Antoinette Smith – Software Engineer

Grades 6-12
Antoinette builds web apps and communities that enable people to create their own technologies. She also empowers more African Americans to enter and thrive in the digital economy. Join Antoinette as she takes you through her life and job.

Early Programming: Crash Course Computer Science

Grades 9-12
Join host Carrie Anne Philbin for Crash Course Computer Science! In this series, trace the origins of our modern computers, take a closer look at the ideas that gave us our current hardware and software, discuss how and why our smart devices just keep getting smarter, and even look towards the future! Computers fill a crucial role in the function of our society. Over the course of this series, you’ll gain a better understanding of how far computers have taken us and how far they may carry us into the future.


Games, Activities, and More!

Corn Maze Craze

Grades PreK-K
Your child can practice the fundamentals of engineering and programming in this maze-building game from The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!

PBS KIDS ScratchJr – Learning Resources

Grades K-3
With PBS KIDS ScratchJr, kids can create their own interactive stories and games featuring their favorite PBS KIDS characters. The storytelling possibilities are endless with this creative coding app for children ages 5-8. Here you can find resources and activities designed for educators to support the use of the app in both formal and informal learning settings.

SciGirls | Code Quest

Grades 3-8
In this adventure, players can take Subbie the submarine through underwater challenges, using code to help them find various items on the ocean floor.

SciGirls | Code Concert: Identify and Define

Grades 3-8
In this segment from SciGirls, Britanee, Estrella, and Saabiriinn use code to turn music into a stunning visual display. Before entering their code in Processing, they write out their code in plain English, a process known as Pseudocode. Using the accompanying Code Creators Activity, students will learn how to write pseudocode of their own!

Tynker Hour of Code Puzzle: Debugger

Grades 3-12
Students are immersed in a multi-level adventure game cleverly designed to introduce computer programming concepts and improve problem-solving skills. To save the motherboard, kids create a custom hero character and fight bugs!

NOVA Cybersecurity Lab Game

Grades 6-12
Learn how to keep your digital life safe, spot cyber scams, understand the basics of coding, and defend against cyber attacks with the NOVA Cybersecurity Lab. Players assume the role of chief technology officer of a start-up social network company that is the target of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. In the game, players must complete challenges to strengthen their defenses and thwart attackers.